Car Repair Woes

I despise dealing with car repair, don’t you? I’m not completely ignorant about how they work, but I’m certainly not interested in fixing them myself, which means depending on a service technician. The problem there is finding one that you can trust. I’ve been burned so many times!

The most recent experience with car repair is a good example. My brakes were squealing. It was embarrassing, and to me, squeaky brakes = badly maintained car. I took it to my trusted service guy who advised that there wasn’t a single thing wrong with my brakes except that the composition of the lifetime pads I’d had installed previously tended to squeal. I lived with it for a couple of months, cringing every time I had to stop. Then one day the brake light came on and stayed on.

I took my car back to my guy, but found that he had moved away due to family issues. Oh no! So I decided to try the man that took his place. I was advised that the brakes pads needed to be changed forever ago and that I had a sensor in my master cylinder that needed replacing. Hundreds of dollars and one day later I took the car back because the brakes were making a terrible noise. Got that fixed. Then they started grinding and squealing. Took it back and got that fixed. Then they started squealing and slipping, which made the car jump forward several feet when stopped. Took it back and was told we needed a new master cylinder. This time I took the car back to my husband and told him to deal with it because I was DONE. He went and raised Cain until the shop agreed to replace the master cylinder because the technician obviously broke it when he replaced the sensor. Now the brakes are quiet, but they’ve started slipping again. I had my husband look at the car, and he found that the “new” master cylinder is the same one that was on the car all along.

What to do now? Go back to this obviously unscrupulous/incompetent shop and insist on yet more repair? Or start over with someone else and spend hundreds of dollars again? What would you do?

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6 Responses to “Car Repair Woes”

  1. VictoriaS says:

    Wow, Deja Vu all over again! I too am in the middle of car repair uncertainty. I have a 2006 car with just over 140,000 miles (about 100,000 of those from the first 3 years driving to work before I retired). I keep my car well maintained; scheduled maintenance, oil changes etc., as I too know enough about a car to know I don’t want to spend MY time repairing one. Nor do I want to be stranded on a road waiting X number of hours for TripleA.

    Now I gotta tell you, I am a “drive that baby ’till the wheels fall off kinda gal. Not having a car payment makes me sooooooooooo happy. That being said, I recently took my car to my service place for a routine oil change, when the service manager called me, he started the conversation with…Mrs S, how long are you planning to keep your car?” NEVER in the history of car repair have those been good words to hear :-/ He then proceeded to tell me I need 2 costly repairs, but good news is, I can do one now, and on the next oil change, which is what I did. Fast forward to yesterday, and my car stared doing something hinkey. I checked the owners manual to find out what that blinking light meant, and discoverd I now will have 2 repairs I need next oil change, and one I already know is gonna be costly, I have a feeling this new one is gonna be up there too!

    I am going to proceed with the repairs as(1) I am still in the “it’s cheaper than a car payment” stage of car repair bills(2) I trust my repair people to do a good job (3) I trust them to do what needs to be done at a good market price (4) I still think my car is worth it.

    Wendy, I think I would start asking friends and family for recommendations for a new repair guy. I don’t think I would trust your present guy to do a good job. Even I know brakes are almost a “no-brainer” repair these days, and you deserve peace of mind. Good luck with your repairs.

  2. maggie b says:

    I agree with Victoria S. re getting a new guy. Our cars are from around 2006 or so too but most times we take them to the dealership. I have had the best luck getting a) timely appts. 2) excellent service with the dealership. They cost a bit more sometimes but the fact is the work gets done right the first time.

  3. Wendy says:

    Good advice from both of you, thanks. This car is paid off, too, and so far it’s been less expensive to maintain than to make car payments. I’m hoping to keep it that way for just a little longer. What I hate is starting new somewhere else with this repair, since I’ve already spent so much and I feel like they should make it right. But cutting my losses and moving to someone more competent makes sense.

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